“Smile, breathe and go slowly.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh
Do you know how to rest?
Like really, do you? I think it’s a legitimate question we should ALL ask ourselves. Especially these days. I know I’m not alone in this. I feel like technology has gotten so advanced that we are alway plugged in. Constantly. When Michael and I watch TV we’re usually both on our phone playing games. Addicted much? Do you remember the days when someone had to call back if you weren’t home to answer the phone? Or they had to leave a message and wait for you to call back? Always plugged in means you never really disconnect from “life”…from the drudgery…from work…from friends…you never really get a break.
Are you like me? Is your schedule planned out in advance (sometimes my schedule is booked out a month in advance, I kid you not)? If something in my schedule falls through and I suddenly have free time, sometimes I fill that with a gym session. Sometimes I fill it with the gazillion errands and chores and various projects I’m always multitasking. It’s exhausting.
I was talking to my mom and she said she was the same way–never really resting, always working on something or filling her time with something. She said I was like her and she’s right. She also said I’m not the type to do anything partway, it’s always fully committed, almost to the point of obsessive hyper focus. Yep, that’s me! I have a friend that loves to take naps and languishes in them. I so don’t get that. I cannot relate. Napping? Who has time? I’d never fall asleep. I’d be laying in bed with my mind racing making lists of all the things I NEED to do, that I SHOULD be doing, etc etc.
With my knee injury and doctor ordered rest, I contemplated what REST really means to me. It usually means filling my time with things…projects, chores, reading, scrapbooking, watching Netflix, catching up on TV shows with Michael, playing with Fat Kitty.
You know what I think about when I think about REALLY RESTING? I think of two things.
The first thing is sitting on a beach with the sun warming my bare legs, the saltwater lapping at my feet, a light breeze keeping me cool and of course a very strong umbrella drink in my hand.
The second thing I think of is running away to a spa retreat somewhere in the middle of nowhere, like at Breitenbush. Nothing but the sounds of a fast moving river, the wind in the ancient trees and the sounds of forest creatures. Of course there are hot springs where you can relax and gaze up at the sky while you REST. Doesn’t that sound amazing?
It seems as though “Resting” for me really means “Escaping.”
Learning how to nurture our bodies and listen to what they are telling us is hard. If you’re like me, you are skilled at ignoring the cues the body gives you. I usually go hard until my body finally tells me to stop–and that’s when I get my bi-annual head cold that has me planted on the couch with a box of kleenex for a week.
I read this article, 12 Practical Steps for Learning to Go With the Flow, and it really spoke to me. It started out describing how we’ve structured the perfect morning routine that goes really well, then something happens to throw a huge wrench in that routine and we get frustrated and angry and stressed that the routine has changed (totally me!)…The article suggests to Go With The Flow.
I liked the suggestions the article gave and plan on working on them. The article is worth a read. The ones that stuck out for me were these:
Realize that you can’t control everything.
Enjoy life as a flow of change, chaos and beauty.
Accept change and imperfection.
Can I commit to trying to do those 4 things? Yes. Will it help me? Probably. I printed those four reminders out and taped them to my desk as a reminder.
So in the spirit of resting, I took a few days off from the gym. Even though I was cleared to swim, do yoga and upper body weights, I decided to just take a break. I took 4 days off and then eased back into the routine with a yoga class. And it was fine! The world didn’t end. 🙂
QUESTION: Can you rest? How do you rest? How often?